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Looking for a smooth sharpening rod.

Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:35 pm


I have a question about honing rods.

First of all, I live in The Netherlands, do you ship to that destination? (otherwise I guess it doesn't make much sense to inquire about your products).

I am looking for a smooth sharpening rod. I already have a ceramic rod, but I guess that is really more a sharpening rod. It takes away material and it scratches the edge of the knife. Now that I have good sharpening stones and start to develop my sharpening skills it seems like a waste to grind away a nice new edge.
When reading around on knife forums I gather that a smooth rod will only realign without taking away material. I will use the rod for my Shun Classic and my Hattori HD knife.

I am considering one of 2 options of your shop, both of which get good review on your website.
1.) Idahone fine ceramic 10"
2.) MAC Black Ceramic Honing Rod 10.5"

(the HA borosilicate and the dickoron polished steel are above budget for now, perhaps later).

Will these 2 rods accomplish my goal, ie honing without taking away material?
I would appreciate your advise!

Thanks and best regards,

Re: Looking for a smooth sharpening rod.

Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:36 pm

Hi Job,

We do ship to your country and the shopping cart will give you an accurate shipping quote based on the weight of the items and your address. All you need to do is place the items in the cart, put your shipping address in the fields and choose "International" for the shipping method and then hit the "Apply" button.

We ship via USPS Priority International Mail. We also put 1/2 the value on the invoice to lessen any customs you may be charged. If you have different instructions for us please write them in the "Comments" box during the checkout process.

I like the Mac Black Ceramic rod better than the idahone mostly because it's striaghter. They both work well.

Re: Looking for a smooth sharpening rod.

Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:54 pm

I'd go with the Idahone over those two. I don't feel the Mac Black is worth the premium you pay for the Mac name. Be aware though that both will remove a slight amount of metal adding some scuff to the edge, which isn't always bad. To not remove metal you need a polished steel rod.

Re: Looking for a smooth sharpening rod.

Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:44 am

They're both well-made, "extra-fine" textured, ceramic rods. The ceramic surfaces come smooth from the factory (unlike the otherwise competitive DMT CS2), and both brands are extremely chip resistant. Bottom line: Each would serve you well, and there's really not that much to choose between them.


To the extent that there are meaningful differences:
  • Idahones are cheaper, and can be had in a 12" length. Since there's really no better rod hone than an Idahone, the fact that it's do inexpensive makes it almost irresistible. Alas, nothing's perfect;
  • Idahones are somewhat fragile (but only somewhat) and won't stand up to regular abuse;
  • The MAC Black ceramic surface is cast around a steel reinforcement reinforcement rod. Consequently MACs are significantly sturdier than Idahones;
  • A 12" rod makes steeling 10" and longer knives more convenient; but
  • If you're going to schlepp your steel around in a knife roll, or otherwise expose it to rough treatment, you want the MAC's reinforcement.


Re: Looking for a smooth sharpening rod.

Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:45 pm

I love my Idahone. I "schlepp" it around in my knife roll, but I did purchase the optional leather sheath, and I keep it between my 2 longest knives. Also my knife roll goes in a gym bag with my clothes and portable stereo equipment, so its got a lot of cushion. It does remove some metal, but I think it would be years before it took off enough steel to compare with just one sharpening job.

As soon as my knife loses its nice edge, I start refreshing it on the idahone at the start of every shift, and it keeps me happy for at least a week or so. It works great on My Tojiro DP Gyuto, and some Victorinox/Forcsner knives as well.

Highly recommended!

Re: Looking for a smooth sharpening rod.

Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:52 pm

I have got the leather sheath with my Idahone too. The sheath gives great peace of mind when storing or traveling. I stained it and rubbed it with mink oil to protect it and give it a little character.

Re: Looking for a smooth sharpening rod.

Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:10 pm

Thanks for your words of advice - I have been browsing around on sharpening sites lately and I have come across some of your names & work before (which made a lot of sense!) and I think it is great to get some expert feedback.
I am just a cooking enthousiast, but being an engineer I find the whole technical side of knives and sharpening very easy to get drawn into... man, it's a whole universe! But I also found that once you get going with sharpening you can read and watch all you want but it still comes down to trying and experience - which is why I appreciate your feedback so much.
best regards,
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